Quick Guide: How to Design Your App Logo

This might sound a little strange, but building a great app is the easy bit (at least it is for us — trumpet = blown). Getting it into the hands of the right users? That’s an altogether tougher task.

When a user is browsing the App Store, they may not even realise that they’re hunting for your app. And if you just know your app will solve their problem in a timely manner, all while remaining easy to use thanks to its sharp user interface and unique feature set, then it’s important that you don’t throw up any obstacles to download.

You know the old saying “a picture tells a thousand words”? Well, choosing an app logo means communicating — with one solitary image — the quality of your user experience, design, features, and how intuitive it is. Taking the time to design a top notch logo to mirror your top notch smartphone app will help build confidence that it’s worth downloading, while helping it stand apart from the competition.

So, if you’ve already picked the ideal app name, then it’s crucial you have a worthy app logo to complement it. And here’s our quick guide to help you do it:

Tip #1 — It’s All About That Shape

You must remember that your app icon will be seen across a variety of devices, at a variety of sizes. From 120px by 120px on the iPhone 6s to 1024px by 1024px on the App Store, the design must be clear and recognisable at a glance.

Choosing a unique shape can help your app stand out from the crowd, all while dealing with the different sizes it will encounter on its journey from the App Store, to the homescreen, to the notification centre.

Tip #2: Take Your Time with the Colour(s)

Resist the temptation to go overboard with colour. One or two should suffice. You don’t want it looking like a Jackson Pollock painting!

Simplicity is key, and comes into its own when you consider how your app will look against a variety of different wallpapers. To that end, you should always double check how the icon will look when placed upon the various colours and textures of smartphone wallpapers to really get a sense of how they’ll stand out.

Tip #3: Don’t Use Photographs

Using a photo in lieu of a professionally designed icon will only serve to cheapen your app. And that brings us back to the point we were making in the beginning of this guide: if your user is going to make a snap judgement on the quality of your app based largely on the icon, then why would you want to risk turning them off by taking the easy option?

Tip #4: Don’t Go Overboard with Text

In fact, if you can design a logo with no text on it at all, then that’s the best option. A symbol or an element from a wordmark in place of text works so much better than a jumble of hard-to-read words.

Tip #5: Be Different

The previous 4 tips are things that ought to be conformed to as an app logo is being designed. But in the quest to stand out from an increasingly busy crowd, don’t be afraid to disregard them and try something completely out of the box.

Be a bit daring with a shape, colour combo, texture, or rendering, and it might just help you blow your competition out of the water. Just be sure to do a bit of testing or a few focus groups before placing all your oddly shaped eggs in one whacky basket.

In Summary

Designing an app logo forms an important part in encouraging a prospective user to download your app. It’s definitely not something to take lightly. At the end of the day, that user isn’t truly going to care which technologies you’re leveraging, or how many APIs you’re interfacing with — all they want to know is: will your app make their lives easier/better/more fun?

A striking app logo design is the first step in convincing them that it will.

If you need some help and direction with your app icon design, you can count on us. Simply get in touch for a quick chat.